More Sweet Facts!
Did you know...?

Ipomoea batatas (Sweet potato) 061211-2262-The average American consumes 4.5 pounds of sweet potatoes per year.

-Sweet potatoes are used in South America as a dye that is produced from combining juice of red sweet potatoes with lime juice.

-North Carolina leads the U.S. in production of sweet potatoes.

-The sweat potato was used during WWII when there was a shortage of wheat flour. Sweat potato was added to baked goods to stretch the wheat flour.

-The first recorded instance of the name "sweat potato" was in the Oxford English Dictionary of 1775.

Ipomoea batatas (Sweet potato) 091222-0908

- To combat the wide spread of vitamin A deficiency decreasing children's resistance to infectious diseases and contributing to infant mortality, nutritionists in East Africa are promoting the use of yellow fleshed sweet potato varieties.

- A recent research has found that Diacylated Anthocyanin derived from sweet potato roots shows an anti-hyperglycemic effect in rats and is being further tested in humans.

-According to the Horticulture Department at Purdue University, derived medicines from sweet potato leaves helps treat upper respiratory conditions such as asthma and common colds. However, there is no clinical proof of this.

The closest common ancestor between the sweet potato and us humans resides in the domain Eukarya. In the grand scheme of things, we are about as close of relatives with the sweet potato as Western Gorillas (Gorilla gorilla) are with the sweet potato.

Yam or Sweet Potato?
One of the biggest mix up among vegetables at your local super market is between the sweet potato and the yam! Sweet potatoes and yams are two very different species. Yams, or Dioscorea batatas, are very hard to find in the US. In fact, there is no where in the United States where yams are cultivated. There are actually very few similarities between yams and sweet potatoes. Yams have tubers and sweet potatoes have storage roots. Sweet potatoes are smooth and thin skinned, yams are rough and scaly. From a phylogenetic perspective, yams aren't even in the same family as the sweet potato! Sweet potatoes belong to Convolvulaceae and yams belong to Discoreaceae. Yams originate in West Africa and sweet potatoes most likely originate in Central America. Really, the only similarity between these two organisms is the fact that they both grow best in tropical habitats.

-All sweet potatoes that are labeled "yams" in U.S. markets are required by the USDA to also be labeled as "sweet potatoes."

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